Ty Law, Darrelle Revis, and Stephon Gilmore are the names that come to mind when you think of dominant Patriots cornerbacks.
Someday, Christian Gonzalez may be on that list.
“Definitely I know about it,” said New England’s newest player on the history of staunch cornerback play in Foxboro. “I’m just excited to be able to get in there and play. Having great cornerbacks come out of that system. But yeah definitely watched Stephon Gilmore. He’s a great player. I want to follow in the footsteps of him.”
After trading from pick 14 to pick 17 (while picking up a fourth-round pick), New England selected Gonzalez, a 6’1″, 197-pound cornerback from Oregon who is known for his length and blanket coverage:
“[I’m] somebody that’s versatile, fast, long, tall, that can move around,” said Gonzalez of his skillset. “Somebody that loves to learn and wants to learn all of the nuances of the defense.”
According to just about every draft pundit and talent evaluator, the aggressive playmaker was one of the top two cornerbacks in this class and somebody that could have easily been a top-ten pick.
“I mean a little bit. But it all happens for a reason,” said Gonzalez on if he was surprised to fall to pick 17. “God has a plan. So I am trusting his plan.”
Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh and head coach Bill Belichick had quite the amount of trust in their plan as well, having moved back three spots and still landing one of the better players in the class.
Speaking of Belichick, here’s what Gonzalez had to say about the opportunity to play for one of the best head coaches of all time:
“I’m very excited to play under him. You can’t really get a better coach than that. So I’m just excited to learn, go in there and just compete.”
Compete you say? Gonzalez will certainly have his work cut out for him not only against top-tier talent like Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill, but the division rival Jets as a whole, who just traded for star quarterback Aaron Rodgers:
“I’ve definitely put some thought into it,” said Gonzalez of New York’s addition. “But I’m excited for that competition.”
The new Patriots corner will travel to Foxboro on Friday afternoon for an introduction with the team, a photo op on the field at Gillette Stadium, and one more post-draft press conference before getting to work. This will be the second time Gonzalez has been to New England. His impression?
“It was great. Great atmosphere. The ball gets played up there. I’m really excited to get up there.”
We’ll see you then.